Nizkorodov Receives 2013 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award

Cecilia M. Bitz, Paul A. Ginoux, Mark Z. Jacobson, Sergey Nizkorodov, and Ping Yang received 2013 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “research contributions by exceptional mid-career scientists in the fields of atmospheric and climate sciences.”


nizkorodov_sergeyThe Atmospheric Sciences section of AGU awards one of the five Ascent Awards to Professor Sergey Nizkorodov of the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) for elucidating at the molecular level the formation, growth, and reactions of organic molecules in the atmosphere.

Nizkorodov works on atmospheric organic molecules describing, at the molecular level, their formation, growth, and reactions with secondary atmospheric organic aerosols The problem is described by his nominator as “representing the greatest challenge in the field of atmospheric chemistry today.”

He is described as “using laser-like focus to reveal their (organic molecules) impact on climate…to understand these molecules from ‘cradle to grave.’” Sergey conducts laboratory experimentation using high-resolution mass spectrometers to study the generation and life cycle of organic aerosols. A nomination noted that Sergey “is one of the few to address a comprehensive study of the gas-phase volatiles, the residual nonvolatile components, and the changes in absorption and related effects.”

His nominators were “impressed by the strong chemical understanding that Sergey brings to his work, in particular his appreciation of the fundamentals of photochemistry and molecular interactions.” One letter noted his growth in the community: “Sergey is now having a measurable impact on the community: by publishing an enormous amount in the past 2 to 3 years, by placing his latest graduate students in top postdoctoral positions, and by receiving a number of invitations to speak at prestigious meetings.” Furthermore, “there is no doubt that he is one of the world’s leaders in his area of study,” noting the highly competitive nature of his discipline.

We are extremely pleased to present a 2013 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award to Professor Sergey Nizkorodov.

—PETER J. WEBSTER, Georgia Tech University, Atlanta


I am truly honored to accept the Ascent Award from the Atmospheric Sciences section of AGU. The amazingly dynamic and intellectually stimulating atmospheric sciences community always makes my annual trips to the AGU Fall Meeting a real treat. I feel really fortunate to be a member of this vibrant community.

This award would not have been possible without my fantastic research group at UCI. I am indebted to my past and present group members for their enthusiasm, dedication, and hard work. I would like extend special thanks to my mentors at UCI, Barbara Finlayson-Pitts and James Pitts Jr., who supported me and my group members in a number of ways throughout my career at UCI. Jim’s book Photochemistry served as an inspiration for me early on to become an atmospheric photochemist. Barbara’s leadership and vision led to the creation of the Atmospheric Integrated Research at UCI (AirUCI) Institute, which has been providing a highly stimulating and collaborative environment for doing research in atmospheric sciences for me and my colleagues.

I also want to thank my dear friends and collaborators from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Alexander Laskin and Julia Laskin. My group members and I have been enjoying a highly productive collaboration with Alex and Julia since 2007. All of the wonderful methods we use to examine photochemical transformation of aerosols at molecular level with high-resolution mass spectrometry, such as nano-DESI, have been developed by Alex and Julia. I would never be writing this response note without their support and friendship.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who spent their valuable time to nominate me for this award. I will do my best to live up to your expectations!

—SERGEY NIZKORODOV, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine